Twins walk past Blue Jays in Game 2 to sweep twin bill
By Dan Myers
MINNEAPOLIS — Clutch with their bats so far this season, the Minnesota Twins simply left them on their shoulders Thursday in the second game of a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Twins batted around in a wild eighth inning, drawing eight walks and three wild pitches, scoring six runs on one hit, turning a two-run deficit into a 9-5 win at Target Field. The victory gave Minnesota the doubleheader sweep as the Twins shut out the Blue Jays 7-0 in the first game.
Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar entered and walked the first two players he faced. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, right-hander Sergio Santos entered and walked the only three batters he faced, throwing three wild pitches in between, turning a 5-3 Jays lead into a 6-5 deficit. Santos turned it over to lefty J.A. Happ, who walked the next two batters before the Twins finally got their first hit of the inning — a sharp single to right by left fielder Jason Kubel, driving in two more. Another walk by Happ followed before finally getting the final two outs of the inning.
The eight walks in an inning were the most since April 19, 1996, when Baltimore walked eight Texas batters in one inning.
Casey Fein earned the win to improve to 2-0 this season, tossing an inning of scoreless relief. Santos, who threw only four strikes on 16 pitches, took the loss.
The Blue Jays took advantage of yet another erratic outing from Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey.
Toronto scored two runs in the first and three more in the fifth to open up a 5-1 lead.
Pelfrey was in trouble early and often, walking leadoff batter Melky Cabrera to start the game. Cabrera came around to score on first baseman Edwin Encarnacion’s RBI single later in the frame. A sacrifice fly by catcher Dioner Navarro gave the Jays a 2-0 through a half-inning.
The Twins cut the lead in half on a leadoff homer by second baseman Brian Dozier, his fifth home run of the season.
Pelfrey labored through the next three innings before running out of gas in the fifth, allowing a solo home run to right fielder Jose Bautista, a walk to Encarnacion and a long single off the wall in right to Navarro. Encarnacion and Navarro ended up scoring later in the inning.
Pelfrey entered the night with a 7.84 ERA, and it rose to 7.98 after he allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits while walking five. He also hit a batter and struck out one in 4 1/3 innings.
Despite the shaking outing, Pelfrey lasted longer than Jays starter Dustin McGowan.
The Twins opened off the fifth with a single by Dozier and a walk by designated hitter Joe Mauer. First baseman Chris Colabello drove them both in with an RBI double, slicing Toronto’s lead to 5-3.
McGowan pitched four-plus innings, allowing six hits, four walks and three runs.
Gibson solid in 7-0 victory
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson entered spring training just hoping to make the big-league roster. He headed north as the team’s No. 5 starter, but since the start of the season he has pitched like the team’s ace.
Gibson was masterful again Thursday in the first game of a day/night doubleheader against Toronto, pitching eight shutout innings as the Twins defeated the Blue Jays 7-0 at Target Field.
Gibson kept the game scoreless through five innings, long enough for the Minnesota bats to come alive against Blue Jays right-hander RA Dickey.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Twins strung together three consecutive one-out singles, the last from third baseman Trevor Plouffe, that drove in the first run of the game. A walk loaded the bases for left fielder Jason Kubel, who ripped a sharp single to right to make it 2-0 before designated hitter Josmil Pinto’s RBI double high off the wall in left-center drove in two more. A sacrifice fly by catcher Kurt Suzuki made it 5-0.
The five-run inning supplied all the offense the Twins needed.
Gibson allowed only one hit — an eighth-inning single that was erased by a double play — in his final three innings. In eight innings, he gave up four hits and a walk while striking out four for to improve his record to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 0.93.
Plouffe added a sacrifice fly and Colabello had an RBI double in the sixth to provide extra cushion for the Twins, who attempted to climb above .500 mark for the first time this season with a win in the nightcap.
Dickey took the loss for the Blue Jays, dropping to 1-3. He threw 112 pitches — only 67 of them for strikes — in 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned, with four strikeouts.
NOTES: Twins 2B Brian Dozier’s leadoff home run in the first was the sixth of his career and his third of the season. ... Minnesota INF Eduardo Nunez, acquired in a trade from the New York Yankees on April 7, made his debut with his new team, starting at third base and batting seventh. Nunez was called up as the Twins’ 26th player eligible for Thursday’s nightcap. ... Twins CF Aaron Hicks, who singled in the second inning, reached base safely for the eighth consecutive game. ... Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista walked in the first inning, extending his on-base streak to all 16 games this season. His home run in the fifth inning was his sixth of the season, breaking a tie with Dozier for the American League lead. The homer was the 11th of his career at Target Field.